Benny Goodman

Benny In Brussels, Vol. 1/Benny in Brussels, Vol. 2

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Benny Goodman was featured leading his orchestra during a week-long series of concerts at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. Extensive recordings were made and some of the highlights appeared on two separate LPs issued by Columbia, the complete contents of which are included on this single-CD compilation. The band is in great form playing material that will be, for the most part, very familiar to longtime Goodman fans. Goodman has a number of features fronting a quintet (which includes pianist Roland Hanna, guitarist Billy Bauer, and bassist Arvell Shaw); among the especially memorable tracks are "Hallelujah" and "More Than You Know." One high point is "Brussels Blues," the crowd-pleasing feature for Jimmy Rushing, which the blues singer composed during this extended engagement; he also thrills the crowd with "Mr. Five by Five," a song written specifically for him. One thing that remains unexplained is Columbia's odd editing, which resulted in different versions of the same material appearing on the mono versus the stereo editions of the original LPs; this CD was evidently produced from the mono master tapes. This thoroughly enjoyable disc should be considered one of Goodman's best releases recorded during the 1950s.

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